BBC Three is set for a triumphant return as a TV channel after media regulator Ofcom gave it the provisional greenlight to return to broadcast tv, six years after the company took it off air as a result of its younger viewers had deserted conventional viewing.
The company took BBC Three off air in 2016, regardless of it being the house of hits from Fleabag to Killing Eve, deciding that an online-only model would make it simpler to appeal to younger audiences.
However, as the pandemic hit final year, and BBC Three spawned yet one more hit with lockdown obsession Normal People, the company made a U-turn after arguing that there’s nonetheless a “significant group of younger viewers who maintain a strong linear TV habit”.
The BBC moved to greater than double BBC Three’s annual price range to greater than £70m, to give it sufficient commissioning firepower to keep a linear TV schedule, as success tales such as ITV2’s Love Island proved there’s a market of hundreds of thousands of youthful viewers for conventional TV if the programming appeals.
The broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, has been investigating the affect on industrial rivals of a return of the TV channel, as rivals and trade our bodies raised issues that it’s going to take viewers away from industrial youth-focused broadcasters such as Channel 4.
“Our job is to ensure that any change the BBC wishes to make to its publicly funded TV, radio and online services does not give it an unfair advantage over rival broadcasters,” mentioned Ofcom. “Having conducted a detailed analysis of the BBC’s proposal, we have provisionally concluded that the public value of BBC Three returning as a broadcast channel justifies the limited adverse market impact.”
Ofcom additionally mentioned that the return of BBC Three as a TV channel would profit sure demographics and areas which might be much less possible to view utilizing streaming companies such as the BBC iPlayer to watch programming.
“We have provisionally found that the channel would increase the availability and reach of BBC Three to people who currently don’t access it,” mentioned Ofcom. “Particularly viewers from lower income households and those living outside London and the south-east.”
Sky had complained that as a public service channel BBC Three would have a authorized proper to seem within the high 24 channels on digital programme guides, which might bump one other channel additional down, guaranteeing excessive visibility amongst viewers scanning for reveals and channels to watch on TV. Ofcom confirmed that, topic to session, BBC Three will get a major slot.
“It is a fantastic vote of confidence in our drive to deliver more value and grow our offer for younger audiences across the UK,” mentioned a spokesperson for the BBC. “We’ve committed to increase our investment in the channel’s programmes, which will allow us to deliver even more of our award winning content and expand our creative partnerships across the UK nations and regions.”
Ofcom has opened a public session on its provisional resolution to enable BBC Three to return to TV subsequent year, as effectively its proposed change to the digital programme information, and can publish its closing resolution by the tip of the year.